Vet Space Ireland is the brainchild of Michelle Maguire, a qualified veterinary nurse, and large animal veterinary practitioner, Hazell Mullins, who featured recently on That's Farming, writes Catherina Cunnane.
The pair launched the introductory episode of their podcast on March 20th with a view to promoting positivity, learning and well-being in veterinary and the agricultural industry.
“Hazell and I are both passionate about promoting the industry overall. We initially decided to do a podcast but ended up creating what we hope will be an entire platform for all veterinary and agricultural professionals to engage in a constructive, positive and supporting way.” Michelle told this publication.
“We understand that all industry professionals work in a busy and at times mentally, physically and emotionally challenging environment.”
“As such, we want to do our little bit to try to lighten their day. The Vet Space podcast will discuss all the weird, wonderful and sometimes bizarre antics that go on in veterinary life and on the farm,” she added.
Conversational guest-format podcast
The Tipperary native explained that the conversational guest-format podcast is aimed at anyone with an interest in veterinary and agriculture. “Along the way, we will be talking to experts in their particular field in veterinary, asking them how they achieved success, their top tips and how they manage their work-life balance and maintain well-being.”
“The Vet Space podcast will also update on all industry current affairs and events. Mental health and wellbeing are something both Hazell and I are very passionate about."
Vet Space Ireland’s main objective is to help inspire all veterinary professionals to be their best, enjoy their work and most importantly, look after themselves. “Sometimes it really is the little things that help get you through the day.”
The creators of the podcast series have a desire to ensure that positive well-being is achievable for everyone, to advocate for appropriate and necessary work-life balance and to offer support where they can.
“Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, we are unsure when we will get the first episode out as we are taking social distancing measures very seriously.”
Michelle and Hazell have created a forum for vets to engage and discuss the difficulties faced with the global health crisis. “We have also started what we hope will be a series of Instagram live conversations also,” McGuire added.
Although Michelle’s family are not involved in agriculture, summer and weekend jobs on a local dairy and equine stud farm gave her a love for equine, agriculture and country living.
After training at St. Pat's College in Naas, she began her first position as a veterinary nurse at Troytown Equine Hospital in Kildare in 2003.
“Troytown is a specialist equine referral centre and it was here I really developed my love of all things veterinary.” Michelle explained.
She continued to utilise her passion and skills while at Darley stud for two seasons - firstly as an assistant manager in the foaling unit and then as the stud nurse.
Later, she moved to The Phoenix Equine Group and a mixed animal practice. “After practicing veterinary nursing for a number of years, I joined a veterinary wholesaler where I spent five years utilising my skills and experiencing a new side of the veterinary industry.”
At present, the Tipperary native works in industry for a veterinary pharmaceutical company; she joined the firm as a field-based territory manager in December 2017 and covers the south of Ireland.
“Areas I’m currently interested in, are treating mastitis and the supportive treatment of BRD in calves. I’m passionate about antibiotic stewardship and how we as an industry can work together to reduce our antibiotic use.”
“Recently, I spent some time on farms discussing the challenges farmers face and how they manage their difficult cases. This experience was hugely beneficial, I enjoyed it immensely and is something I intend to do more of in the future.”
Michelle said she is committed and passionate about helping to provide treatment solutions to vets and farmers that ensure they can efficiently and sustainably continue to put food on tables.
Women in ag:
She noted that agriculture has become an innovative, interesting and exciting career path as the island looks towards improving sustainability."I would encourage any woman or girl to follow any aspirations for a career in agriculture."
“There are so many influential women working in the sector in Ireland at the moment and highlighting their successes and achievements, as you do in That’s Farming, will definitely help to encourage more women to consider a career in agriculture.”
Michelle and Hazell have many plans for the road ahead with Vet Space Ireland, but for now, they will focus on their podcast, and supporting the industry, however, they can through these testing times.
“So far, we have received really positive and encouraging feedback. You can listen to the podcast wherever you get your podcasts or go to vetspaceireland.ie." Michelle concluded.
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